It’s been so long since I wrote to you. Years, maybe. I do remember the time I stopped writing. It was actually the time I stopped doing pretty much everything. I was raped, you see. I stopped doing anything the minute I was groped and pulled aside. The only thing I wished I had stopped doing was breathe, which I didn’t. It felt so unfortunate to have lived after.
It was my friend’s birthday. We had all had decided to meet at her place and then go out to party. The party was in CP. We all were so dolled up. I was wearing a dress. Life was so good back then. Laughing the way we used to seems almost impossible now. The party ended around 9:25 pm.
I didn’t drink at all, because like everyone else, I didn’t have an extra car to pick me up from home. I used to travel by metro. So my friends dropped me at the nearest metro station of Barakhamba Road. I was in a hurry because I was already very late. When I reached the platform, the train was going away so I ran and entered the general coach.
It was really crowded but I didn’t have the time to run towards the women coach. Over that, there was something wrong with the metro and it was stopping for more than ten minutes at every station. I remember thinking about how everything in the world makes us even more late when we already are. I also remember smiling at the view outside. I liked travelling late at night.
The city lights looked so beautiful from above. Because it was getting late and the metro was also moving slowly, I decided to get down at Laxmi Nagar metro station and take a bus towards Anand Vihar, the nearest bus stand to my house. I waited for five minutes and then the bus arrived. I got in. I scanned the bus to see four men and a woman inside. I was actually comforted when I saw the woman.
I actually wished, at that moment, that she would get down after me. But she got down just two minutes after I got in. It wasn’t my lucky day. It was the first time I thought about how crowded buses are actually better than deserted ones. I sat in the front. It was only my third time ever in this bus.
I was just hoping to get home as soon as possible. Next, I noticed the bus wasn’t on it’s normal route. The driver had taken one wrong turn. Being the shy girl that I am, I stayed quiet assuming it must be a short cut. Just five minutes later, I realised it wasn’t. The bus was approaching a deserted petrol pump. That’s when I decided to ask the bus driver about it.
I got up and started walking towards the driver when I felt someone’s hands grab me from behind, one hand on my mouth and the other on my stomach. I can’t describe what I felt at that time. It was something I had feared more than death, like all other girls. Except, it was my time.
I tried to fight back. I did. Only everything I did couldn’t make a difference. Those men were like huge monsters and I was too little to hurt them. I couldn’t even hurt one, even a little bit. It’s one of the things I regret about that night. I wanted to hurt them so much. They took their turns and got done with me. Then they left me at that place. They threw my bag outside, after they did me. I was too hurt to move. I didn’t feel like doing anything. But I fought that feeling, gathered myself and opened my bag. I took my phone and called home. I couldn’t speak but I knew they could hear me crying. I didn’t even know where I was to tell them. I don’t know how they found out, but they did and came to get me.
Today’s entry isn’t only about what happened, how it happened, or why. I try to not give it that much power over me now. This entry is also about my come back, my breakthrough, or some would say, my recovery.
A few weeks after the incident, my family started pestering me to go see a psychologist. I couldn’t see why it would help and said no a hundred times. I was convinced later. The therapist was nice and just wanted to help but I didn’t feel like talking to her in the first few sessions. I only spoke for like four times in those three hours and that was enough for her, for some weird reason. Once, I asked her if the pain would ever end, and she said yes. It hasn’t ended yet. But, it has reduced. Earlier, it felt as if I had this huge boulder on my heart that made it feel so heavy. It’s a pebble now. It’s always there. I can always feel it. I’m just glad it’s smaller now.
In one of my sessions with her, I remember, I really got it all out. I spoke about how it would never leave my mind. I told her about how much guilt I used to feel, how I wished I had not gotten into that bus, maybe if I had worn something else; it wouldn’t have happened. She told me I would not have been raped had the rapist chosen to respect me, to not commit a crime or to be a decent human being. I did have the right to wear what I wore, to get on that bus. They did not have the right to rape me.
After grief came anger and after that, came a combination of both. My journey was long and is still going on. I don’t know when it will end, or if it will ever end, for that matter. I’m just glad I’ve started being alive again. I’ve started doing things again, including writing to you. I’m glad I was able to make this possible, what seemed so impossible a few years back, to smile again.